Buy Link: Paris A to Z
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Novella

Rating: 4.5

This story came out earlier this spring but I am just now reading it.  Part of the reason is that my ebook copy was a little hinky and I tried unsuccessfully for a while to get it to work before giving up and buying a new copy.  But the real reason it took me so long to read this book was because I didn’t want the Coda series to end.  I bought it right away, but it took me a while to start it, knowing it was the beginning of the end of one of my all-time favorite series.  But I am glad I finally did, because Paris A to Z totally lived up to my expectations.

Before I go any further, I must mention that this is the 6th story in the Coda series.  They are so very good and if you haven’t read them yet, stop reading this review and go get them!  This book is wonderful, but you will not get nearly as much out of it without reading the other books first.  Plus, this review will be totally spoilerific. And trust me, they are worth reading.

Ok, now that all of that is out of the way, on to the review…

Cole and Jonathan are getting married in Paris and have invited Matt, Jared, Zach, and Angelo to come (all expenses paid by Cole of course, darling).  Both Matt and Zach are nervous about the trip, each for different reasons.  Zach still struggles with guilt for his role in ending his relationship with Jonathan so many years ago.  He knows he failed to really communicate with Jonathan, and instead set out to passively destroy their relationship.  And of course, he feels anxiety for Angelo after the terrible experience the men had during their trip to Los Vegas.  Yet Zach knows this is a once in a lifetime trip that would mean the world the Angelo and is willing to face the situation in order to give that to him.  Matt is not happy about the idea of the trip either.  Although he knows Jared loves him and is committed only to him, he can’t let go of the jealously over Jared and Cole’s past relationship and doesn’t really want to spend the week around Cole.

Like some of the other stories, Paris A to Z is told in alternating points of view, this time with Zach and Matt as the narrators.  I think this really suits the story because even though the book covers Jonathon and Cole’s wedding, Zach and Matt are its real focus as they struggle with the trip and needing to work out their issues.

In the end, both Matt and Zach decide that the trip is too important to their partners to pass up. This picks up a big theme in this book — the idea of putting your partner’s needs before your own, even if it is not what you want you do. We see this from all the couples in both big and little ways throughout the book. At one point Jonathon’s father George talks to Zach about Jonathan and Cole:

For the first time ever, Jon quit worrying about making his partner a better man, and started looking at himself. And he realized then that the best way to make himself happy was to make Cole happy first. That’s why Cole’s so good for him,” he said. He looked over at me with a question in his eyes. “I think maybe that’s why your Angelo’s good for you.”

The story follows the men through the week in Paris leading up to the wedding and reception. They are the only guests, along with Jon’s father George, so the men spend the week together sightseeing and enjoying each other’s company.

Sexton does a great job of giving us closure with this story. I worried how it could wrap up three couple’s story lines, but the book really captures some of the key issues and brings resolution.  We finally hear about the Cole and Angelo hook up from Zach’s point of view and come to understand why Zach had no problem with (and even encouraged) the situation. Matt comes to realize that Cole is no threat to him, and the men actually become friends. And Zach finally is able to come to closure with Jonathan and put that part of his life behind him.

I especially liked the closure on the Zach/Angelo/Cole situation because this is something that seemed to bug some folks in The Letter Z.  Personally I liked seeing the contrast of relationships between Zach and Angelo versus Matt and Jared in that book and I think that scene really highlighted it.  But for folks who didn’t like aspect of the story, I feel Paris A to Z helps put it to rest.

Telling Angelo it was okay for him to fool around with Cole had been easy… Wondering exactly what they were doing together had been simultaneously maddening and arousing. When I learned later that evening that there were still things that Angelo reserved for me alone, I felt vindicated. It was all the proof I ever needed that he was mine in every way that really mattered… It had no bearing on our relationship at all.

I will say I missed hearing Cole and Angelo’s voice more in this book, as they are my two favorite characters in the series.  We get more of Angelo as he helps Zach work out his issues, but Cole plays a very small role.  And Jonathan and Jared get almost no screen time.  I know it is hard with six guys to try to give them all equal time and attention, I just wanted more of all of them! However Sexton does a great job helping the reader get a sense of their feelings, especially with Jared’s reactions to Matt’s jealousy.

Paris A to Z was a lot of fun. I loved the scenes with all six guys together, especially the dinner where they discussed how each of them have slept with some of the others.  The dynamic between Cole and Matt was especially good.  And I was happy to see great things in the future for them all, especially Angelo.   This was such a wonderful series and Paris A to Z was a fabulous ending.  It was so nice to give them all a happy send off into their lives together. (But I will still miss reading about them!)

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